This week, the District celebrated an almost entirely normal Fourth of July as COVID-19 cases in the area continue to plummet. But it also marked six months since the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol and serves as a reminder that neither the causes nor the effects of the insurrection have been properly addressed yet.
Here’s the best and worst from this week’s headlines:
For the Fourth of July, D.C. partied like it was 2019. Between the throngs of people watching fireworks on the National Mall and the thousands of fans crammed into Nationals Park, it looked almost as if the COVID-19 pandemic had never existed. Yes, the D.C.-is-back story is rapidly becoming trite, but it is still worth celebrating every milestone of normalcy after a year of hell.
One more coronavirus milestone to celebrate: last week, the District went a full 12 days without reporting a single death due to COVID-19. Overall case rates, hospitalizations and deaths are the lowest they have ever been and nearly 75 percent of adults in the District have received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine.
In other joyous news, in the time since officials decided to rename the Marvin Center, crews have acted swiftly to strike all references to the segregationist former University president from the building’s exterior. This is a positive step, but not a sufficient one. Administrators need to make sure they are not quite literally brushing over the University’s problems with a fresh coat of paint.
Disgraced former D.C. Council member Jack Evans finally reached an agreement with the city government to pay the $52,000 he owes in fines for his many ethics violations. Evans resigned his seat in 2020 amid a flurry of accusations of influence peddling, graft and corruption, and his attempted comeback was roundly defeated by Ward 2 voters. The Jack Evans story is a common tale of corruption with an uncommon ending – he was actually held accountable for his misdeeds.
This week also marked the six-month anniversary of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. Many legislators, staff, reporters and residents alike commemorated the grim milestone by sharing stories of the trauma and terror they endured that day. Much of the damage the riot caused – to people, property and our democracy – is yet to be repaired. Millions of Americans still believe the riot’s animating lie that the 2020 election was stolen. Former President Donald Trump, whose speech incited the riot, has continued to falsely suggest that the election will be overturned and that he will be reinstated. Once our campus’s characteristic political activism comes back in full force this fall, students and organizations should keep pushing for accountability for those who started a domestic insurrection in this city.
On a much lighter and largely insignificant note, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office found itself in some hot water over a Twitter post that inadvertently contained an R-rated image. Spare a thought, if you would, for the intern or staffer who will have to spend the foreseeable future trying to live that down – and take this as a routine reminder to proofread your social media content before hitting send.
Andrew Sugrue, a senior majoring in political communication and political science, is the opinions editor.